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Larry Powell, California Superintendent Who Took $800,000 Pay Cut, Giving Up More For Charity

Larry Powell Fresno Superintendent

By TRACIE CONE   08/29/11 09:48 PM ET   AP

FRESNO, Calif. -- The school superintendent in California who is forgoing hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay and benefits to help offset budget cuts to his school district has decided to give away even more.

Fresno County Superintendent Larry Powell recently volunteered to return more than $288,000 in annual salary and benefits for the next three-and-a-half years of his term. He technically retired, allowing him to collect a six-figure annual pension, then was rehired with a $31,000 salary.

On Monday, Powell told The Associated Press that he's also planning to donate that $31,000 salary to charity.

Powell will collect his retirement of roughly $200,000 a year while working fulltime for the district. But the salary he would be earning as superintendent stays in the general fund budget and is now going toward at-risk educational programs.

By staying on the job, Powell saves the district from having to pay another superintendent's salary. He had to give up his $250,000 life insurance policy and will go on his wife's health care plan.

Because he retired early, Powell said he'll receive $28,000 a year less in pension payments for the rest of his life than he would have earned had he stayed on the district's payroll until the end of his term.

Powell said that if he lives to be 87, the current age of his parents, the early retirement will cost him $900,000 in reduced pension benefits, including $200,000 less in earnings for the remainder of his term.

After an AP story ran about his initial pay sacrifice, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan phoned Powell Monday to thank him for his generosity.

"Larry Powell's leadership is an absolute inspiration," Duncan said in a statement.

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Filed by Emmeline Zhao  |